Total number of comments: 105 (since 2012-07-08 23:28:20)
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Also this just in:
Syria's Pipelineistan war
This is a war of deals, not bullets.
link to aljazeera.com
Al Jazeera Exodus: Channel Losing Staff Over Bias
"Qatar's aggressive stance towards Assad has led to a string of resignations at the country's al-Jazeera TV news channel. Those who left describe bias at the station which they say has become a tool to target the Syrian regime. RT's Paula Slier describes those accusations.
Bureau Managing Director Hassan Shaaban reportedly quit last week, after his correspondent and producer had walked out in protest."
link to tv.globalresearch.ca
"You mentioned Saladin as a mythical Arab hero. Ironically, Saladin was not an Arab but a Kurd from Tikrit. "
Yes he was. But the common Iraqi, and I assume also the common Arab, did not know that. I've met some fellow Iraqis who even try to dispute the validity of this. Hence the word mythological.
"The gas Saddam dumped on the Kurds had been supplied to him by the Americans to be used on the Iranians."
Correct, as well as the Germans, French, British, and the USSR. The US was also supplying the Iranians with weapons (although not bio or chem. agents) through Israel. The strategy was to let them both destroy each other so that neither came out as predominant victor at the end of it all, a goal that they achieved with flying colors.
Two peas in a pod...
I think Danaa was referring to the salafi/wahhabi elements of Sunni Islam, not mainstream Sunni Islam itself. There is a world of a difference between the two. And unfortunately, the former has been hijacking and speaking for the latter for decades now, which is why the line between the two seems to have been muddled lately. Wahhabism or salafism had in the past always been viewed by most other Muslims as being a sort of fringe or eccentric cult. Their views are ridiculous and extreme. However, since their rise to power in Saudi Arabia, and all the financial and other support that comes with that, they've made enormous headway in making it seem as if they are the official mouthpieces and representatives of mainstream Sunni Islam (which is absolutely false).
True. It was more than simply money though, there was a military/intelligence/logistics element to their support, especially from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Which is also one of the reasons Saddam justified his invasion of Kuwait, in addition to claiming that Kuwait was in fact a part of Basra which hard been carved out by the British in the 19th century to make it a separate entity, as well as the accusation that Kuwait was pumping oil from territory on the Iraqi side of the border between the two countries. But you are right, there is a qualifying difference between the "average Arab" and the Arab governments. The former, to a large extent, supported Saddam as mythical Arab hero and leader, a Saladin of our own age fighting against crusaders, right up until the very end, with many believing even after he was hanged that he was some sort of noble martyr. Whereas the latter merely used Saddam to the extent that it suited their interests and purposes (keeping Iran at bay and Islamic "fundamentalism" from spreading to their own countries), and then quickly abandoned him as soon as he fell out of favor with his imperial masters in the West, at which point they then had to compete amongst each other in demonstrating to what extent they were the obsequious salivating little dogs that they were. There was virtually no mention, from either of the two categories, of the crimes and atrocities carried out by Saddam against the Kurds and Shias of Iraq.
Bang on. Imagine how much of a crackdown the police state of the US would inflict on the US population if some right-wing white supremacist militias or Christian evangelical groups took up arms against the US government, and were being funded/armed/supported and cheered on by neighboring countries, say for instance Mexico or Canada, wherein they have setup training camps and weapons depots to smuggle across the borders into the US. And also being bankrolled and financed and coordinated by the SVR of Russia or the DINE of China. The police and national guard would have a field day cracking skulls and breaking legs. Look at how ruthlessly they suppress even largely peaceful demonstrations such as those of the G-20 summits and more recently the Occupy Movements, which Danaa also referred to. It's preposterous to think that the government of any nation in the world, democracy or otherwise, would simply sit by idly and twiddle their thumbs if there was a full-scale insurrection instigated by foreign countries and factions to overthrow the government and install a new one. Mere wishful thinking, and the historical record is evidence of that.
I think Fisk was pointing to the suffering of Palestinians at the hands of other Arab governments, not that them being evicted or wronged was justifiable or right in any way. I agree though that he could probably have worded it differently.
Regarding the support of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, I think it goes without saying that many Arabs of the Middle East did in fact support Saddam in this regard, they bought into the BS of him being some mythical Arab hero of past times, especially as it played out in his resistance to the hegemony of the US and the West generally. This was very obvious on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Damascus, and in the Palestinian territories, and even in the Gulf countries prior to his invasion of Kuwait, since they mostly bankrolled and financed his war of aggression against Iran. This unyielding and staunch support was likely even more true of the Palestinians since Saddam was known to send large amounts of money to the families of Palestinians who had carried out suicide bombings against Israel. The Palestinians living in Iraq at the time (those who came to study or settle) were also treated very well by the Ba'ath regime and given privileges that the local Iraqi population was not granted, which is what lead to the general resentment and then some horrible actions taken against Palestinians living in Iraq (though it was not as widespread as Fisk suggests, many Palestinians still live in Iraq until this day).
"Lessons to be learned. The half million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon fought on the Muslim-leftist side in the 1975-90 civil war. They were rewarded with hatred, mass murder and final imprisonment in their own camp hovels. Palestinian refugees in Kuwait supported Saddam's invasion in 1990; hundreds of thousands were evicted to Jordan in 1991. Palestinians housed in Iraq since 1948 were slaughtered or driven from the country by the Iraqi "resistance" after America's 2003 invasion.
"The Christians are citizens of Syria whose religion certainly does not reflect a majority in any anti-Assad force. Bashar's stability – somewhat at doubt just now, to be sure – is preferable to the ghastly unknowns of a post-Assad regime. There are 47 churches and cathedrals in the Aleppo region alone. The Christians believe that Salafists fight amid the rebels. They are right.
Lessons for them, too. When that famous born-again Christian George W. Bush sent his legions into Iraq in 2003, the savage aftermath smashed one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East – the Iraqi Christians – to pieces. The Christian Coptic Pope Shenouda of Egypt supported his protector Mubarak until just two days before the dictator's downfall; Egypt's Muslims remember this. So what can the Christians of Syria do?"
Robert Fisk: For the minorities, even neutrality is unsafe
link to independent.co.uk
To reference what Taxi just said about the CIA and Mossad role in Syria, see:
"Saudi officials are preparing to pay the salaries of the Free Syria Army as a means of encouraging mass defections from the military and increasing pressure on the Assad regime, the Guardian has learned.
The move, which has been discussed between Riyadh and senior officials in the US and Arab world, is believed to be gaining momentum as a recent flush of weapons sent to rebel forces by Saudi Arabia and Qatar starts to make an impact on battlefields in Syria."
link to guardian.co.uk
"A European Union arms embargo prevents the export of weapons to any party in Syria's conflict, but Britain is helping the rebels in other ways. "Given the scale of death and suffering and the failure so far of the diplomatic process, we will, over the coming weeks, increase our practical but non-lethal support," said Mr Hague. "We have helped them with communications and matters of that kind, and we will help them more."
But the Foreign Secretary ruled out sending armaments.
Other countries, notably Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are believed to be arming the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA). America has refrained from sending weapons, but is understood to be providing intelligence on military deployments inside Syria."
link to telegraph.co.uk
"Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States, according to opposition activists and U.S. and foreign officials."
link to washingtonpost.com
"While Qatar and Saudi Arabia have supported arming the rebels, they have not confirmed any official involvement. Turkey has denied that it is helping to facilitate the arms flow, which activists say are usually delivered by Turkish intelligence to the rebels on the Syrian side of the border."
Completely agree. The atrocities go both ways. Here is one example of the so-called rebels executing a whole bunch of people (it's bloody, for those who may not be able to stomach it):
link to youtube.com
Apparently those being massacred are government forces captured by the rebels. This is the so-called "free" Syrian Army.
Fredblogs is a racist and bigot. No point trying to convince him otherwise. "They" are always inferior to "us", since by definition "they" are inherently backwards, uncivilized, irrational, primitive, etc.. whereas "we" are the opposite, we are manifestations of all that is good and right and progressive and noble and righteous, also inherently. It's in "our" nature. This kind of bullshit Orientalism and Eurocentrism goes back for centuries. Zionism copied that ideology to the T. Nothing new here.
This just in:
"While emphasizing that he was “convinced we must do everything to prevent Iran from the ability or desire to develop such a weapon,” Halevy also said that the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran would not be existential. “It is a serious threat, perhaps the most serious that we’ve ever seen,” he said. “It’s not existential.”
Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy
link to jpost.com
So, Fred, you were saying...?
I must admit, I am a little bit confused. Either you are purposely misconstruing and misreading my comments, or else my comments were disgustingly opaque. I doubt it was the latter because this is at least the third time you've done this, thus far, on this thread. So let me reiterate, loud and clear, that I was stating the undeniable historical trend and fact that there is a clear US propensity to act with aggression (militarily) against weaker, poorer, and horribly defenseless countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cuba, Philippines, etc... choose your pick). And for precisely this reason, there is a good chance that it WONT attack Iran, because it does not fit that category, for precisely the reasons you mention.
Have absolutely no clue what your Orientalism comment was referring to.
"the US isn’t going after North Korea because it does not pose a threat to the United States. Iran does not pose a threat to the United States either"
I did not say that North Korea or Iran posed threats to the United States. I said that North Korea, either on the verge of being nuclear capable or already in fact so, has a real deterrent that prevents US military aggression against it. Iran should pursue the same. Either have a nuclear-free world for everyone, everywhere, or have the underdog nations get the bomb too so that they can't be intimidated or threatened with being wiped off the map any longer. Iraq tried in the 1980s but Israel (and by extension the US) wouldn't have that, couldn't fathom the possibility of a viable challenge to their hegemony in the ME, so the Israelis took out the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Same thing all over again, albeit on a much larger scale.
Other than that, I agree with your points.
In Canada, TD Bank (one of the five biggest banks in Canada) has been closing the bank accounts of Iranian-Canadians who send money back and forth to Iran, in line with the new round of tougher sanctions:
link to ottawacitizen.com
Also, the mystery surrounding the possible assassination of Saudi Arabia's new intelligence chief, Bandar (Bush), is still hush-hush in the Western press:
link to atlanticsentinel.com
"But the question is : "what do you do about it ?" You try to make it worse or try to move towards reconciliation and improve matters. The Bush administration is making it worse. This hysterical rhetoric is going - predictably - going to increase North Korean efforts to develop a nuclear deterrent. And as the South Korean president pointed out, you don't want them to do it, but it is understandable why they would. You threaten a country with destruction and they're not going to say. "Thank you, here is my throat, cut it." They are going to try to find some way to react. There are only two ways to react. Nobody is going to fight the U.S. military. The U.S. depends about as much on the military as the rest of the world combined. It's technologically far more advanced - such an enormous destructive capacity - that nobody is going to fight a war with it, which leaves two possibilities for a deterrent. One is nuclear weapons and the other is terror. And so by carrying out meaningful threats against other countries, you're simply inspiring terror and nuclear proliferation."
Korea and International Affairs
Noam Chomsky interviewed by Sun Woo Lee
Monthly JoongAng, January 24, 2006
link to chomsky.info
Someone should seriously do a Dave Chappelle style impersonation of a White Obama vis-a-vis the Iran situation.
"Since the NPT entered into force in 1970, three states that were not parties to the Treaty have conducted nuclear tests, namely India, Pakistan, and North Korea. North Korea had been a party to the NPT but withdrew in 2003. "
link to en.wikipedia.org
"Alas, the time and resources needed are indeed scarce, so to this day, only nine countries are nuclear-equipped-the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. Here we see these links visualized, starting with the Manhattan project and fanning out over the last six decades (click here for the full-size popup)."
link to gizmodo.com
link to reuters.com
The "Official" Nuclear Weapons States
Five countries, the US, UK, France, China and Russia are considered to be "nuclear weapons states" (NWS), "an internationally recognized status conferred by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)". Three other "Non NPT countries" (i.e. non-signatory states of the NPT) including India, Pakistan and North Korea, have recognized possessing nuclear weapons.
Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Turkey: "Undeclared Nuclear Weapons States"
While Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities are unconfirmed, the nuclear weapons capabilities of these five countries including delivery procedures are formally acknowledged.
The US has supplied some 480 B61 thermonuclear bombs to five so-called "non-nuclear states", including Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. Casually disregarded by the Vienna based UN Nuclear Watchdog (IAEA), the US has actively contributed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Western Europe.
link to globalresearch.ca
Yep. Here is Chomsky speaking on this very issue: link to youtube.com
Just a note: You forgot to add Iraq to that mix of the "Shi'ite Crescent", especially as it has a majority Shia population and they have very close relations with Iran as well. Iraq has also refused to back the Arab-league initiatives to fund/arm/support the rebels in Syria, which is really angering Washington.
Saudi Arabia just arrested this dissident Shia scholar a few weeks ago:
You wont hear the MSM in the US ever bring that up.
Nonsense. You're an idiot. That is not how things work in international relations, nevermind the rhetoric of Ahmadenijad or Netanyahu. Consider the Soviet Union vs US, or Pakistan vs. India, etc... Even the most conservative thinkers and scholars argued that the Cold War era was extremely stable due to a "balance of power", or "mutually assured destruction (MAD)", which is what Kenneth Waltz argues in the article in Foreign Policy Magazine. He's probably one of if not the most renowned and respected conservative writers/thinkers on foreign policy issues, but at least has the common sense to not swallow the hysterical BS coming out of Washington and Tel Aviv.
Why Iran Should Get the Bomb
Kenneth L. Waltz
link to richardsilverstein.com
Donno about that, the US (and most other superpowers, past and present) have a tendency to usually go after weak, dirt-poor, defenseless countries. Any country that poses a serious threat and has a formidable military response capability to be reckoned with, even if it is much less than that of the US, is probably in safe waters. Consider the fact that the US hasn't dared mess with North Korea after it obtained nuclear capabilities. Which is a pretty insightful and telling sign to other countries that if you want to be immune from US military belligerence and aggression, strap up on nuclear arsenal. Pronto!
Here is the speech given by Ron Paul in opposition to the bill:
link to rt.com
Not that it matters, just one step closer to all out war. Criminals and thugs and hypocrites as leaders of the "free world". This will end very bad.
"They can, but the history of the last century suggests to me that they need to work a bit harder at it. Am I not allowed to make such judgements?"
You are, so long as you're able to put things in their proper historical context. I'm not going to assume or pretend to know what your views are on this topic. However, let me point out one crucial historical fact: one of the main factors contributing and leading to extremism in Islamic societies, has in fact been the advent of modernism, usually in the form of a scorched-earth crusade-like policy, i.e. colonialism, imperialism, unfettered capitalism, myopic and delusional nationalism etc... John Esposito and others (notably Edward W. Said) have done some marvelous work in this field, showing how it pretty much had a spring-effect reaction, i.e religious extremism in those parts of the world became a sort of lashing out, a hysterical reaction to what some elements saw (rightly) as a viscous, devious and poisonous encroachment and attack on their cultures and religions. This goes back to the beginning of the 19th century with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, and going forward you have the British and French carving up the the Middle East along lines that suited their own interests, imposing leaders or monarchs among the natives that did their bidding, creating artificial nation-states according to their own whims, etc... The same would apply to Africa and most other parts of the Third World. This divide-and-conquer colonial strategy lasted up until WWII, as I'm sure you're away, at which point the torch was passed on the US, albeit in a less direct form.
Please note that I am not at all suggesting that the Arab and Islamic worlds do not have real internal problems of their own. They surely do. What I want you to imagine is what many of these countries would look like if there had not been this type of meddling by foreign powers concerned only with their own interests, economic gains and geopolitical strategies. Imagine had this not taken place for the past 2 centuries. Am I saying that the Arab or Muslim worlds would be flamboyant and glamorous utopias with no problems? Not at all. Am I saying that they would be much more "advanced" in all the areas you may think of, that a good portion of the sectarian and social/political strife that we see today would not exist? Yes, absolutely. Take the case of Turkey, as one example, a country that has luckily avoided being intervened in by outside foreign powers since the break up of the Ottoman Empire some 90-100 years ago. Notice where they stand now, one of the strongest and most thriving economies in the world (not just the region), a strong, well-trained, and technologically-advanced military, a working political system, etc... Again, I'm not trying to give you perfect examples, so please do not misconstrue my points. Turkey still has problems, as do all nations. My point is that although I am not trying to absolve the Arabs or Muslims of any responsibility in their own state of affairs today, what I am saying is that the situation would look drastically different had the foreign interference on the part of Europe and America (ongoing in the latter case) not existed. Things would not be perfect, but they would definitely be much better. For one thing the Arabs need to overthrow all their dictatorships and monarchs and stop acting as pawns on the chessboard of Western powers, need to pursue their policies that serve the interests of their own people instead of the wishes of Washington, London, Paris, Moscow or Tel Aviv. And they need to get united. And they need to allow a more open political process. And they need to stop having resource-based economies and instead invest in promoting other sectors of their economies, take a more broad and multi-faceted approach, etc.. And the list goes on and on. Just saying the fight would be easier, much easier, if they had the advantage of not having both hands tied behind their backs, while getting punched repeatedly in the groin.
They are entitled to their own culture and customs and ways. If they have problems that need sorting out, they can sort them out on their own, without outside intervention or interference, or any holier-than-thou and condescending attitudes. Other cultures, not just Islamic or Arab ones, are not required to toe-the-line of the dominant hegemony of Pax Americana culture, simply because it happens to be the dominant one in our day and age. Perhaps we think it would be nice and proper that they should follow our ways, or live life according to our customs and conventions, or implement political and economic and social systems that are modeled on European or American lines, create and re-create the world in our own image, so to speak. That still doesn't mean they have to. There are other ways of living, of progress and advancement, of civilization, other than the modernist and materialist, rape-the-earth for all it's worth type consumerism of the West. They've been around for thousands of years, and will continue to exist long into the future, despite the ongoing Orientalist and Eurocentric mission civilisatrice, the crusade to whip the heathens, the primitive barbarians into submission in order that they may be saved by following our ways.
I should also point out that by even succumbing to the Eurocentric views of "progress", which view progress and advancement and civilization only in the modernist perspective of GDP or economic output, we're merely falling and playing into the racist and ethnocentric maze that asserts that those factors (GDP, economic growth, etc...) are the only real and valuable indicators of progress. We should not accept these assumptions simply because modernism, the poster boy of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, tells us that this is so, that we all have to play by these rules, that no other parameters or considerations or factors may even be considered, let alone allowed into the discussion of "progress".
Totally agree with your points. The US needs to somehow get out of the two-party system deadlock, otherwise it risks destroying itself, and much of the world with it. Jill Stein really seems to know what she's talking about. Other than that, voting either democrat or republican, you can be sure your vote will be signed in the blood and tears of many innocent civilians across the globe. A lot of Americans may seem indifferent to that. I, for one, would never be able to enable and dignify such a corrupt and abominable and atrocious process by casting my vote in favor of either party, both of which are subservient, boot-licking lapdogs to Wall Street.
For an insightful piece by the always insightful Greenwald on the state of America's current oligarchy, see:
link to salon.com
And Ali Abunimah dissected Romney's racist comments/attitudes here:
link to electronicintifada.net
Any idea where one can watch the clip in Australia? That Canadian link doesn't seem to be working here.
Yes, the White Man's Burden:
Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
link to fordham.edu
New Research Suggests Enhanced Interrogation Not Effective
link to thedailybeast.com
But this is, at most, a secondary issue. The real issue is one of morality and justice, i.e. even IF torture were effective as a means of extracting critical information that would save lives, it would still be wrong.
There are many things that can be deemed effective and yet are wrong. A dictator who violently suppresses a rebellion, with tanks, helicopter gunships, guns, etc... may be seen to be effective, in that he achieves his stated goals of crushing any resistance to his power, and remains himself in power. This, however, does not make it right or justifiable. The examples are nearly endless.
A few other really revealing and intuitive quotes from the same essay by Thoreau:
" Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys,(5) and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?"
"The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus,(7) etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. A wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be "clay," and "stop a hole to keep the wind away,"(8) but leave that office to his dust at least"
"All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army."
Btw, you still did not answer my questions, which were specifically different than some of the strong and convincing arguments made by a couple of the other commentators. Since there is ample evidence, equal to if not stronger than the evidence linking Afghanistan to 9-11, that the US has in the past and present, supported, funded, and trained terrorist organizations (groups), at times on US SOIL, would you agree that the countries affected by the terrorism coming from said organizations, have a moral or legal right to mount military attacks against the United States for its sponsoring of terrorism? Does this follow your logic or not? If not, please explain why and in which way it differs from your own propositions.
Ahhh so we do away with all pretenses of morality and justice in the face of a terrorist attack or war. How convenient. That reveals immensely the depth and fortitude and resilience of your democratic values and principles. At the slightest touch of turmoil and tribulation, all wishy-washy moral and ethical values need to be put on the back-burner or shoved under the carpet. That's pragmatism for you! Well here are some practical steps that could have been taken, within the confines and parameters of both international law and conventions, and that also would run parallel to (and not contradict) your own alleged principles and values as an American:
- Immediately start dismantling all US military bases on foreign lands, especially and primarily in the Middle East
- Immediately cease giving Israel unconditional support and assistance and aid, unless and until it abides by all of the requisite UN resolutions and international law generally
- Immediately cease support (financial and otherwise) for the brutal and illegitimate dictatorships of the Middle East, and elsewhere around the globe
- Work, through the venues and channels of the UN, and WITH the Taliban, to pursue necessary legal means of apprehending, arresting, interrogating (I think it doesn't need mentioning that I don't mean torture here), and trying those who may have been responsible for the attacks on 9-11, and also to prevent further potential attacks. As you would with any other criminal persons and organizations.
Otherwise this whole holier-than-thou jingoistic American exceptionalism business will be seen for exactly what it is, a farce and a charade. Most of the rest of the world recognizes this. You cannot expect other nations to abide by international law, if the US continually defies, breaks, and sabotages it at every turn. You cannot expect the world to take you seriously in your calls for respect of human rights and freedoms, when you yourselves are seen as the greatest violators of these rights and freedoms. It's one big sham. The rest of the world has seen through the lies and illusions for quite some time, and that IS where the crux of the problem lies. By immediately engaging in tackling, seriously and effectively, even only the first two above points I mentioned, you would most likely see hatred and animosity towards the US drop, in the ME and elsewhere, by AT LEAST 80%. Those are the reasons fueling the whole conflict. The murderous nutcases in Al-Qa'eda and other extremist groups would have zilch to work with, no realistic or convincing platform to work from, if those grievances and problems were remedied and dealt with.
Lastly, I'd like to quote the great Henry David Thoreau, from his essay Civil Disobedience:
"But Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to which the rule of expediency does not apply, in which a people, as well as an individual, must do justice, cost what it may. If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself.This, according to Paley, would be inconvenient. But he that would save his life, in such a case, shall lose it. This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people."
link to thoreau.eserver.org
This advice was admittedly given under very different circumstances, at a different time, etc.. and yet the profound humanistic and moral precepts still hold true vis-a-vis the issues of torture and America's wars of aggression against other (mostly weak and defenseless) nations.
There is no room to deal kindly or considerably to those who support murder, rape, ethnic cleansing, torture, theft, and a long list of other disgusting atrocities. You should be treated fairly to the extent that you are allowed space to bring forth your racist views and arguments, but that's about as far as it goes. Don't expect to get any type of decent accommodation or reception here beyond that, from either other commentators or the moderators themselves. Once you can achieve that level of basic human dignity and consistency where you can condemn and speak out against all atrocities and oppression and injustice, no matter which side of the camp it comes from, then at that point people will shift their attitudes and show you common courtesy and respect. As we cannot find it within ourselves to respect a mass murderer, rapist, racist, bigot, etc.. of any nationality or ethnic background or political affiliation, we likewise cannot extend our respect to those who tacitly or overtly support these disgusting atrocities and abominable acts and policies, especially when they are internalized into the very institutions and system of the State that you blindly support.
But you guys seem to forget, it's not really called "torture" when it's us who does it to "them". It's instead called "enhanced interrogation techniques", or some other fancy Orwellian label.
I've mentioned this before on another thread, there is ample evidence that the US has trained/supported other terrorist groups on US soil. Two immediate examples that come to mind are the MEK, which even the US gov't has listed as a terrorist organization, and which they were training in Nevada during the Bush regime a few years back. Monetary and intelligence swaps and other forms of training/support still continues under Obama (see Greenwald for extensive evidence of this), going up to the highest levels of the US military and intelligence establishment. Another case in point would be the School of the Americas in the state of Georgia, going back to at least the early 1990s, which also trained/armed and in other ways supported some of the worst terrorist thugs from Latin America, many of whom have been accused and convicted of torture and other brutal atrocities and war crimes in their respective countries.
Based on the above, would it be permissible for either Iran or let's say ElSalvador, Guatemala, Honduras, or Cuba to carry out military operations against the US of A, because US continued support and sponsoring of terrorism?
Fact of the matter is that there really isn't that much of a difference between Obama and Romney as far as the I/P is concerned, or foreign policy issues more broadly. Obama is probably more intelligent, articulate, and charismatic, but if anyone really thinks that there is a substantive difference between the Democratic party and the Republican part, so far as foreign policy is concerned, they're mistaken. One candidate perhaps has a little more finesse, is more "cultured", knows how to talk the talk and walk the walk in international relations, knows how to keep the American people pacified and applauding, whereas the other is more brash and blunt and downright repulsive. He doesn't seem capable of mincing words or wrapping his statements in a cloak of basic decency and respectability, which may not be all that bad since at least then you'll know exactly who/what you're dealing with. But ultimately, when all is said and done, they're really two sides of the same coin. If Americans want to affect real change in their domestic and foreign policies, getting out of the two-state system deadlock seems to be the only way. Perhaps Jill Stein of the Green Party. At least that way you can state with some degree of confidence that you haven't signed your vote in the blood and misery and tears of other oppressed and downtrodden people throughout the world.
You're right. I mean I suppose even with my disclaimers regarding the Israel lobby and my belief that they are a formidable force of power and influence, it goes way beyond that. The Israel/Palestine issue is of course a main component of any serious debate on the ME, however, 'twould be nice to see some more focus on other issues/countries in the area as well, such as perhaps Iran (or Iraq, or Egypt), especially as the drums of war are beating with more and more enthusiasm in Washington. In any case in many ways they are all interdependent and related issues.
Hehe... Really? Is it that bad? I mean it is sort of simplistic, don't you think? Classic example of mistaking the forest for the trees.
Most recently, watch this interview with ex-British ambassador to Uzbekistan, as just a small glimpse into how the US (and its lap-dog allies) supports/defends some of the most ruthless and brutal regimes on the planet, as long as they fall within the framework of America's so-called national interests:
link to democracynow.org
I agree that the Israeli lobby is a formidable source in US domestic politics as well as foreign policy. For example, JJ Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago has done some extensive work investigating the almost omnipotent power and influence of the said Lobby here:
link to mearsheimer.uchicago.edu
Also wrote a book on the subject. Then there is of course Chomsky's amazingly detailed and well-sourced classic on this issue, called "The Fateful Triangle".
However, with that being said, I think that US foreign policy, although definitely influenced by the Israeli lobby on ME issues, is still not the only deciding factor in the matter. In other words, there are other geopolitical factors that would still lead it to pursue disastrous and inhumane policies in that region, as it has done elsewhere, for example in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Kissinger once said that America has no permanent allies, and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. Israel has of course been exempt from this equation, but I don't necessarily think that this is primarily due to the Israeli lobby. Rather, the US would have chosen to staunchly support the state of Israel, because of its own perceived interests in the region, with or without the presence and influence of the lobby. This is evident from its foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel even prior to existence and/or consolidation of power in the lobby, as can be seen in the immediate aftermath of WWII and onward. Likewise, one may notice the unreserved and almost absolute support for Saudi Arabia, Turkey and some other countries in that region and elsewhere, also in many ways "special relationships" that go back for decades. The US does nothing to speak out or condemn the Saudis for their ongoing brutal oppression of their minority Shia population, the imprisoning and torturing of prisoners, and countless other human rights violations. The same type of relationship also existed with Iran under the Shah.
All I'm saying is that it seems erroneous to lay all the blame for the formulating of US policy in the ME at the feet of the Israeli lobby, because as mentioned above, this is not exclusively the case. The lobby does influence these policies, does to some extent draft the lines of discourse domestically within the US about what things can or cannot be discussed, does play a role in creating the framework of foreign policy, but it is not, in my opinion, the absolute deciding factor on how the US conducts itself in the ME. It does of course exacerbate and fuel the situation, but whether or not the lobby exerted this influence or existed at all, the US would still be invading/intervening/bombing countries in the ME (and elsewhere) in line with their own perceived "national" or "strategic" interests. The problem is within the system of the US government itself. A change of President, or political parties, or even a highly reduced role for the Israeli lobby, would not change much of substance in American foreign policy, IMHO.
Political satire at its very best:
link to thenewinquiry.com
Screw Romney, he's a jackass. Obama is the way to go. Wake up and smell the cocoa beans people, ya'll need to see the big picture, the BIG picture! Hail Obomber, our savior and leader of the free world.
Yup, I agree with Dennis. The UN is relevant only in so far as it bows to and obeys US demands. Same with the IMF, World Bank, NATO, the whole shebang.
Interesting and revealing piece by Greenwald on the seemingly imminent prospect of a US attack on Iran, and how this earns many bonus points for Obama in his coming campaign, see here:
There is another rapper/hip hop artist nicknamed Lowkey, he's half Iraqi and half British. His music is also heavily entrenched in political/social issues, primarily regarding the Middle East. Here are just a few of his tracks:
link to youtube.com
Soundtrack to the Struggle:
link to youtube.com
Cradle of Civlization:
link to youtube.com
Great rebuttals, from you and Annie, as always. But I do think it's a waste of time vis-a-vis anan. I doubt if anyone here takes him seriously, and doubt even more that anyone will be able to change his inane views.
Please note that my points were all theoretical ones, based on the line of logic that some use to justify military action. In other words, if you can justify the way the US conducts its foreign policy in many parts of the world, then you must by extension be willing to justify and support any other country that carries out the same actions or policies. As they have. See for instance the preposterous and hypocritical statements of Condoleeza Rice during Russia's invasion of and conflict with Georgia a few years back:
Putin and others in Russia's officialdom noted the double standards applied by the US by responding accordingly:
Note that I rarely, if ever, would support wars of aggression nor sanctions in any circumstances to influence regime change or any other security or geopolitical outcome. The burden of proof lies absolutely on the shoulders of the belligerent nation, the aggressor, to prove unequivocally, and without a shred of doubt, that the nation being intervened in or invaded or attacked is in fact guilty of being a real existential threat to the country doing the attacking, invading, bombing, etc... It's the proverbial slippery slope, and many other nations can (and have) used similar arguments and justifications to redeem their actions against other nations, with at least as much "evidence" as the US provided vis-a-vis Afghanistan or Iraq. Saddam's invasion of Iran in 1980, and his invasion of Kuwait in 1990 (after getting the green light from the US to do so), are just two cases in point. There are probably countless others.
Haha, he's just full of logical contradictions isn't he? Do you think his brain short-circuits sometimes and has to go into stand-by mode?
Anan: even if I concede to you that Syria was allowing salafis to enter Iraq from their border (there is some evidence of this), does this justify Iraq instigating "fitna" and chaos and instability in Syria now as some sort of tit-fot-tat strategy? Are you mad? Whatever happened to your fruity calls for everyone to love one another, to help one another, etc...? Or, as with most of your values and standards, do these calls apply only to some and not to others?
I'm utterly speechless. Really... Marshal Plan, by Israel, for the Palestinians? Essentially you are saying that they should ignore 60 years of rape, torture, murder, terror, destruction, oppression, dispossession, and injustice... in order to secure some conditional, limited, financial or economic benefits and advantages? Sell their souls, do away with their principles and values, for some loot and clout, lil bit of cha-ching? Right. Nice to see where you stand.
Damn right I believe they should fight against their oppressors. Haven't you argued time and again that the Syrians should do the same? You unabashed hypocrite!
I guess this is meaning of that saying from Ali ibn Abi Talib, some 1400 years: "I have not debated with an ignorant person except that he has overcome me in the debate."
You win bud. Congratulations!
Precisely Shingo. Bingo. See below:
Everything They're Telling Us About Syria is False?
link to whowhatwhy.com
German Intelligence: "al-Qaeda" All Over Syria
link to voltairenet.org
How convenient that somehow your posts have "disappeared" into thin air.
Doesn't really matter if you, I, and the entire world thinks that it is not in the "interests" of the Palestinians to rise up and fight against their colonial oppressors. The fact of the matter is, they have every moral and legal right to do so, under all conventions and international law. They don't need you or me or anyone else to be interpreting their interests for them.
Mooser, something seems very fishy about anan. He supports Bush, but criticizes Cheney and Rumsfield (huh??). He supports Israel's support for Iran in the war with Iraq, but justifies the US stance (supporting both countries to annihilate one another) as just some sort of geopolitical game of the Cold War era. He supports the right of the Syrian rebels to overthrow the Assad regime, but not the right of Palestinian militias or groups to fight against and overthrow their occupiers. The list is practically endless. Not sure if he's simply playing devil's advocate to get a kick out of it or actually truly believes in the crock of shit he relays here and elsewhere.
It goes much farther than that, Hersh and a few others have demonstrated that during the Bush era, the US military was directly involved in training MEK members in Nevada. This seems to have stopped under Obomber, but there is a great deal of evidence that the CIA and other government agencies are still exchanging money, intelligence, etc... with the group. And now recently a US Court of Appeals has ruled that Clinton has a few months to decide the status of the group (whether terrorist or not), so keep a close eye on that in the run-up to possible military action against Iran.
link to washingtontimes.com
How convenient! Is it even sensible to claim that the US going to war with another country for "sponsoring terrorism" when there is exhaustive evidence that the US partakes in the same sort of thing? It's ludicrous really.
What about Hersh's sources? It's preposterous to cast doubt on something unless you have evidence to back it up. As I mentioned earlier, he's one of the most consistent and honest and thorough investigative journalists around, especially within the MSM. And his work goes back decades. He was the first to break the news to the US population of the MyLai massacre by US forces in Vietnam, the same guy who exposed the Abu Ghraib scandal, and on and on. There is nothing in his track record to indicate that I or anyone should be skeptical or suspicious of his sources, and certainly not taking your word for it. He, like Greenwald, makes you uncomfortable because their findings and writings don't align perfectly with your inane worldview and perspectives.
Wouldn't be surprised if US government support for the MEK has expanded under Obomber, since he's like Bush on roids. He's taken it to the next level, just has the finesse and style and elegance to make his people, and the world, applaud him for it.
anan, where do you get your information from? Really?
"Other than that he was a good President."
That list indicates a pretty shitty track record on its own, not even bringing up the disastrous policies in Central America and elsewhere. It would be like saying that Saddam gassed the Kurds, violently suppressed the Shi'ites, aggressively attacked/invaded Iran, tortured and killed political and religious dissidents, but other than ALL OF THAT, he was a good president. You must be delusional. No one buys the garbage you spit out, so why not give it a break, go learn a thing or two about common sense, consistency, and the like, and perhaps then you can come back and have some real discussions.
"However, note that Saddam was allied with the USSR against the US at the time. As a result Saddam didn’t get nearly as much support from the US as he got from the communists. Saddam was also closely aligned with India at the time. Saddam was also allied to China and other countries."
You forgot to include most of Europe and the West in general in your list of nations supporting Saddam against Iran. There isn't a sane and intellectually consistent person out there who denies this. You can't cherry pick which countries you want to single out and not those ones you think acted noble or righteous. It's a load of crap. The reality is that almost every regional and global part had an angle to play in the 8 yr war between Iran and Iraq that destroyed those countries and cost millions of lives. It's astonishingly similar to the role that most of the world is playing in Syria at the moment. So don't even try for a second to minimize, marginalize, or otherwise legitimize and justify the role of your favorite actors. You are a hypocrite, that much is clear, I just can't figure out whether you're actually ignorant (which would make your hypocrisy somewhat excusable) or not (which would not).
And your assessment is wrong to indicate that the USSR provided more support to Saddam than the US, complete bullocks. We're not talking about the latte 70s here, the situation shifted in the early 80s, the US became directly and indirectly involved in supporting Saddam, sometimes through surrogates and proxies when it wanted to avoid scandal or inquiries from Congress. The US also, incidentally, supported Iran (through Israel), the overall strategy being that they should both destroy each other and neither of them come out as the more powerful victor in the war. The strategy, in that sense, was a complete success. For a detailed account of this, and how the West and the United States was VERY MUCH involved in supporting Saddam even while they knew perfectly well about his human rights record and his ruthless suppression of his own people, I would suggest two comprehensive works:
Unholy Babylon: The Secret History of Saddam's War, by Adel Darwish and Gregory Alexander, here: link to foreignaffairs.com
Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge, by Said Aburish
link to books.google.com.au
"The only country in the world that did right then was Israel. Israel alone backed Khomeini against Saddam. Israel also probably helped the Iraqi resistance help Saddam although the extent of this help is hard to know. Thank you Israel for standing up for justice at that critical time. [Israel now please do right by the Palestinian brothers too. Thank you.]"
Ha! What a load of crap! Ever hear of Iran-Contra bud? Go look it up, you may learn a thing or two. Short version: US was directly and indirectly supporting Iraq, while simultaneously selling arms to Iran through the Israelis and with money diverted from Latin America. Some pretty dark and shysty stuff. But your good ol' US of A can do no wrong, eh?
Nations or states rarely if every act out of moral considerations. That is a fact of international relations and politics. They do so for more mundane and selfish reasons, always, all nations, across the board. They pursue something called their "national interests", which often have nothing to do, and many times fly right in the face, of moral questions such as human rights or democracy or whatever else. Of course they may sugar-coat their policies, dress them up, make them look altruistic and noble and benign, for the feeble-minded gullible sheep like you to swallow hook, line and sinker. But that has nothing to do with their actual realpolitik interests and goals. Some nations are better at "manufacturing consent" at home and abroad by claiming that their motives are righteous and grand, but this is just another ploy. It doesn't match up with the reality on the ground, especially if you rack up the claims against the historical record, you'd most likely shit your pants at how strange it is that)the two (moral motives vs. historical record) never seem to cross paths. Only a mental midget would be aware of this, especially in the case of the US and Israel, but of course not limited to these two.
The great preponderance of violence/torture came from extremist Sunni factions against the Shia population, especially from 2006 to about 2008-2009, i.e. at the height of the sectarian strife in Iraq. This is not to excuse or justify the killings and murders by some Shia militias or factions against Sunnis, which undoubtedly did happen as a tit-for-tat strategy during these horrible events. But the level of violence against Shias, in Shia neighborhoods and towns and cities, was MUCH greater than vice-versa. There were entire neighborhoods in Baghdad, for instance, which were predominantly Sunni, which forcibly removed the Shia inhabitants, through violence or threat of violence. This happened in areas like A'adthamiya, Hayy il Jihad, Hayy il Adl, al Mansur, and countless other areas with minority Shia populations. The same was not reciprocated (for the most part) in Shia dominated areas of Baghdad, such as Hayy il Qahira, Hayy il Kasra, Hayy il Shaab, al Karada, etc... Sunni families lived within these neighborhoods with little or no harassment even at the height of the conflict. This I know first-hand since I was living/working in Iraq from 2009 to the end of 2010. Again, please don't misconstrue my statements as suggesting that no crimes or atrocities were committed by some Shias against Sunnis... this did happen, I would be the last to deny it. Of course other countries were instigating the sectarian violence also, the usual suspects, mainly Iraq's immediate neighbors and of course the US itself. But if you wanted to compare it in numbers of deaths, amount of destruction to infrastructure, and the sheer level of brutality and violence, you would notice that the Shia population was overwhelmingly on the receiving of that violence. Still goes on today, as we speak, albeit to a lesser extent.
"The School of the Americas is America’s only spanish language military school. As a result all Latin American countries use it. Even ones that don’t like America. Part of the reason it exists is so that all the militaries in Latin America can learn about each other, interact with each other, conduct joint operations together, and so that American GIs can practice Spanish. Education and capacity building are good things. Because of education and capacity building, Latin Americans can handle their own affairs without very expensive direct American involvement. This should be the model for how America conducts business everywhere."
Are you on crack? Have you even done any extensive research into this area? Have you had even a cursory look at the training manuals at the SOA? Did you even bother reading the article I linked from the Guardian? Or any other academic work that delineates the cozy and deep relationship between this terrorist-training school and the para-military and military thugs of Latin America? Say like, oh I don't know, Chomsky's "Culture of Terrorism" and "Turning the Tide", which provide mind-boggling details and insights into this topic? Let me quote again, since I'm REALLY not in the mood of giving you any wiggle room on these issues:
-"The FBI defines terrorism as "violent acts... intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government, or affect the conduct of a government", which is a precise description of the activities of SOA's graduates. But how can we be sure that their alma mater has had any part in this? Well, in 1996, the US government was forced to release seven of the school's training manuals. Among other top tips for terrorists, they recommended blackmail, torture, execution and the arrest of witnesses' relatives."
-"Last year, partly as a result of the campaign run by SOA Watch, several US congressmen tried to shut the school down. They were defeated by 10 votes. Instead, the House of Representatives voted to close it and then immediately reopen it under a different name. So, just as Windscale turned into Sellafield in the hope of parrying public memory, the School of the Americas washed its hands of the past by renaming itself Whisc."
-"We can't expect this terrorist training camp to reform itself: after all, it refuses even to acknowledge that it has a past, let alone to learn from it. So, given that the evidence linking the school to continuing atrocities in Latin America is rather stronger than the evidence linking the al-Qaida training camps to the attack on New York, what should we do about the "evil-doers" in Fort Benning, Georgia?"
So anan, with all due respect, please at least have the decency to get your facts straight before you decide to come here and spew forth your nonsense. It really makes you look bad.
"To blame the school of Americas for what some of its alumni do makes no sense. It is like blaming Harvard or HKUST for every bad action every one of their alumni make."
Apples and oranges, and utter bullsh*t. See above. That you can even compare the two with a straight face goes to show how far you're willing to go to defend the indefensible and demonstrates that your mind cannot even consider or fathom the possibility that the US government has been involved in some pretty nasty business throughout the world, atrocities and war crimes and state-sponsored terrorism that you so easily and gleefully ascribe to the official enemies, whoever they happen to be at any given time.
"Would you rather that the US had provided no training for any Iraqi Army officers and NCOs? Would you rather that no Iraqi Army officers were training inside the US as we speak? If this had happened, it is almost certain that millions of Iraqis would have been mass murdered by the very Salafis you are so right to be concerned about."
There would not have been a need to train Iraqi officers or soldiers, in the US or elsewhere, had Paul Bremer and co. not disbanded the Iraqi army in the immediate aftermath of the invasion. So what, they invade the country, lure in Al-Qaeda to a country which had no presence of them in the past, destroy the country, disband the army, etc... effectively creating the sh*t-storm in the first place, and you expect me or any other sane person out there to be oh-so-grateful for attempting to fix the problem that THEY created in the first place? Give me a freagin break. Only half-wits and hypocrites and self-serving opportunists of your ilk can even suggest something like that without flinching.
"Why would the international community use gun boat diplomacy against the US? There are many who need international help more than Americans do."
For the obvious reasons stated earlier, as well as countless other examples. Frankly I don't have the patience nor the time to tutor you on the list of atrocities and human-rights violations and State terrorism that the US has been involved in, regionally and globally, directly or indirectly, over the past 100 years. The great portion of that would fall in the period after WWII, but one could go back much further than that. Let me state here, unequivocally, since my point seems to have been lost of you, that I am not suggesting that the logic of invading/intervening/occupying other countries is legitimate, not in the case of the US or elsewhere. I am saying that if you want to be honest, sincere, and consistent, that the same standards you apply to others you must first and foremost apply to yourself. Otherwise you're a hypocrite. To quote the Prophet Jesus (as):
"Or how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me cast out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. "- Luke, 6:42
Noam Chomsky, on an article on the "Iran effect" a couple years back, summed it up this way:
"Doubtless Iran's government merits harsh condemnation, including for its recent actions that have inflamed the crisis. It is, however, useful to ask how we would act if Iran had invaded and occupied Canada and Mexico and was arresting U.S. government representatives there on the grounds that they were resisting the Iranian occupation (called "liberation," of course). Imagine as well that Iran was deploying massive naval forces in the Caribbean and issuing credible threats to launch a wave of attacks against a vast range of sites -- nuclear and otherwise -- in the United States, if the U.S. government did not immediately terminate all its nuclear energy programs (and, naturally, dismantle all its nuclear weapons). Suppose that all of this happened after Iran had overthrown the government of the U.S. and installed a vicious tyrant (as the US did to Iran in 1953), then later supported a Russian invasion of the U.S. that killed millions of people (just as the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in 1980, killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians, a figure comparable to millions of Americans). Would we watch quietly?"
link to tomdispatch.com
One last side-note. I don't mean to be quaint or anything, but why is American-style democracy the only legitimate type of government in your view? Should all countries, consisting of all cultures and/or religions, have to follow the a system or style of government, simply because it is the dominant one at the time, or simply because the US says so? Do all nations or peoples need to fall within the modernist discourse that produced communism, socialism, capitalism, fascism, and countless other isms over the past couple centuries, in order to be considered legitimate in their own right? And is promoting this cultural hegemony of the dominant power(s), through the means of force, "spreading democracy on the wings of cruise missiles", as one Russian politician put in the run-up to the Iraq invasion... is this any different from the crazy and deranged calls of some salafi extremists that one needs to spread Islam by the sword? Is there a difference between the two? Maybe I shouldn't hold my breath and hope that for once you'll avoid falling into your usual habit of talking out of both sides of your mouth. But it's worth a try. Good luck.
Alaykum al Salam. It's "shlonek" not "shlonech" in my case. I'm fine thank you.
"The US government is deeply internally divided regarding the MEK. If you noticed, the US State Department to date still calls them terrorists. The MEK hasn’t yet gotten appreciable help from the US Department of Defense. All that happened was that MNF-I decided not to waste resources directly attacking the MEK when it had so many higher priority missions to complete. Ultimately Maliki did take the MEK out, and the US refused to lift a finger to help the MEK."
Not true, the only division over this issue has been superficial. The MEK has been funded by big-time, highly influential Washington players and politicians for some time now. Pretty much across the board, both Democrats and Republicans. The only thing new nowadays is that this moral, political, and military support has come out in the open instead of being done under the table and behind the scenes. It's become more politically correct to support/bankroll this type of "terrorism" since it so happens that it now falls within the US's overall framework of stirring up sh*t and instigating instability vis-a-vis Iran. Sort of like how it became imperative for the US to remove Iraq (under Saddam) from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism back in the early 1980s. You remember that, don't you anan? The whole messy business with Iran, the obstacles in Congress that prevented the US government and US arms-dealers from directly or indirectly providing political/economic/military/logistic support to Iraq due to it's horrific human rights record against its civilian population at the time. The US needed a free unfettered hand to, alongside Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, etc.. (interestingly the same nations who were the primary sh*t-disturbers in Iraq post 2003, and the same ones also now involved in the Syrian debacle) to beef up Iraq's military machine in order to fight its war against Iran. But I digress.
For clear and undeniable proof of what I've mentioned regarding the US support for the MEK in Iran, please see:
"Washington's High-Powered Terrorist Supporters", Glenn Greenwald
link to salon.com
And "Likely Victory for MEK Shills", here: link to salon.com
Most recently, a piece accurately called "America's Own Terror Group":
link to salon.com
Here are direct quotes from the last article, as I can tell from your previous posts (on this and other topics) that you either totally ignore evidence that doesn't fit nicely within your worldview of international politics, or you merely skim over it to choose and pick those parts that make you feel like you have the moral high-ground, an utterly ironical oxymoron since you staunchly support two of the worst and most deadly terrorist states on the planet, i.e. the US and its fierce little attack dog in the ME, Israel.
-"As usual for a MeK event, Abedini was able to tout more than a dozen former high-level U.S. political officials from both parties who spoke to the rally, many of whom (if not all) have been repeatedly paid large sums of money for their MeK speeches. According to Abedini, this latest rally included many of the usual MeK shills: former GOP New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell, former Democratic New Mexico Governor and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, former GOP U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, former GOP Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Democratic State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, and several retired U.S. Generals."
-"NBC News reported that “deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group [MeK] that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service,” while The New Yorker‘s Seymour Hersh detailed in April that the U.S. has provided extensive training to MeK operatives, on U.S. soil."
-"MeK used to work in close cooperation with Saddam (during the time Saddam was America’s decreed Enemy, rather than Ally), so they were therefore Bad: Terrorists. Indeed, in 2003, when the Bush administration was advocating an attack on Iraq, one of the prime reasons it cited was “Saddam Hussein’s Support for International Terrorism,” and it circulated a document purporting to prove that assertion, in which one of the first specific accusations listed was this:
Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians."
If I know how to properly quote or use italics I would've simplified it even further by pinpointing those areas that you should focus on. We wouldn't want your mind going into burn-out mode due to overheating from too much reading.
In any case, the evidence for US government support (again, across all party lines, in all departments) is exhaustive and quite extensive. It is not even a matter of debate in our day and age of moral relativism and openly proud hypocrisy (read democracy). Seymour Hersh, one of the most respectable and respected and thorough American journalists working within the MSM, has done some pretty detailed and in-depth work in this regard. He's been documenting/reporting it for years. Here is his most recent piece in the New Yorker called "Our Men in Iran":
link to newyorker.com
And a video interview with him on this very topic:
This is one example of the "takfiri" elements that are infested in the Syrian opposition:
The translation into English, in a nutshell, is that the Shias of Syria are the enemy and that anyone who is found to be collaborating with them in any way will be exterminated. Literally. I am Iraqi Shia myself, and therefore am quite familiar with this kind of wahhabi/salafi rhetoric and the mayhem and destruction that the followers of this extremist sect carried (and is still carrying) out on the Iraqi population. This is just the tip of the ice-berg for Syria, it will get much worse before it gets better.
Also, I've posted this article from the Guardian in a previous thread:
Look at some of the alliances between the Syrian opposition and the US gov't, the CIA, Bilderberg, etc...
Lastly, for an interesting perspective on the Syrian bombings and the role that the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc... are playing in the overall conflict, see:
link to original.antiwar.com
Both demonstrate the sheer hypocrisy and double standards of the West and specifically the U.S. with regards to these issues. Sort of like the way they support the MEK opposition, still listed as a terrorist organization by the US state department (although they're lobbying very hard to have them removed), and similar to the US support for terrorism in Latin America. The School of the Americas, operating out of Georgia, directly training and supporting some of the worst mass murderers, torturers, and thugs ever. See:
I wonder whether all of the above, plus countless other examples, would suggest that the international community has a right and moral obligation to use a) gun-boat diplomacy against the US of A, b) implement the harshest form of economic sanctions to starve the civilian population, c) train, arm, fund and otherwise support local militias to overthrow the government, or d) get down and dirty with a Shock and Awe military intervention, blowing the country and its people to smithereens, in order to carry out regime change and implement some other cultural/political alternative to the dominant democracy/capitalism variety of the modernist ideology. Sounds all fine and dandy, right?
I agree, but was specifically referring to the part about calling a process or strategy "peace" or "peaceful", when in fact they are manifestations of the complete antithesis of peace. Also agree with your assessment that it's the proverbial ticking time-bomb for the Zionist state of Israel. Only a matter of time.
The famous Roman historian Tacitus had an insightful quote some 2000 yrs ago:
"To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation (or wasteland) and they call it peace."
With slight modification, add "and they create settlements", and would fit beautifully.
Ah yes, the Palestinians are the rejectionists, while the Great State of Israel is always so ecstatically eager in pursuit of peace and resolving the shitload of problems that it's created over the past 60+ years. The Palestinians should not only accept whatever bones and scraps are thrown to them, but be unreservedly thankful and grateful for these generous concessions by the the State that has dispossessed and expunged them from their land and from the mainstream discourse of history. There is a short clip by the comedian Eddie Griffin, in reference to the Mexicans and indigenous communities of the US, that applies almost perfectly to the situation in Palestine:
I believe you're doing some very selective cherry-picking of your own. Modernism and secularism, and their various offspring (communism, socialism, capitalism, fascism, imperialism, you choose your pick) have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people over the course of the past two centuries. These are for the most completely bereft of any religious connotations or persuasions. They have been responsible for World Wars, civil wars, class struggles, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and, lest we forget, the complete and utter destruction of the planet's ecosystem, climate change and global warming, mass extinction of the world's planet and animal life at a rate unprecedented in history, etc.. The list is nearly endless. All culminating of course in the possibility of perhaps another global WW (given the highly charged situation in the ME recently), and if not, even more inevitable is the extinction of the human race, due to the rape of the environment which has set the world's ecosystem in super-drive mode on a one-way ticket train that's bound to run itself off the cliff. And all of this being the result of a purely modernist, materialist, reductionist, and allegedly "progressive" worldview. These are also the children and offshoots of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, the great "advances of civilization", devoid of any spiritual or moral compass. Interestingly, if you consider the fact that the above-mentioned carnage of modernism (non-religious) has happened pretty much within the past two centuries, and then project how much more death/destruction/carnage will be carried out in the future, if modernism continues to stick around for the next few thousand years (to make it comparable to dominant religiously-oriented culture of the past), then the picture to be imagined is a pretty bleak and depressing one. I don't think anyone can honestly argue that the future looks appealing from this sense. I'm not even sure our modernist (and predominantly non-religious) world can expect to last beyond the next century, at the rate we're going. So you're assessment and comparison is way off.
Also, vis-a-vis the US's brutal role in the world in recent history as opposed to the religiously motivated massacre of Native Americans and slavery of African Americans, again your calculations seem to be way off, and your generosity to the non-religious camp of recent times is simply baffling. Even if you were to tally up the destruction, deaths, and mayhem carried out by the US and its allies in the past 50-60 years (to say nothing of the century before that), they would easily reach tens of millions of innocent lives, to say nothing other factors (environment, culture, etc..) Nothing from the religious age would even compare to current non-religious "progressive" advancements in pursuit of open markets, consumerism, profit, greed, expansionism, invasion, occupation, etc.. All in the name of human rights, democracy, and freedom of course, similar to how past religious wars and/or inquisitions were fought in the name of noble and righteous religious values.
I'd suggest, if you have the time, to watch this lecture:
And some of the other ones by Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of George Washington University, for an alternative discourse to the dominant non-religious and non-spiritual worldview that permeates the globe. Even if you do not agree with the conclusions, it at least gives an interesting and mentally stimulating substitute to the status quo business-as-usual state of affairs today. Also check out some of the similarly interesting and informative works by Rajani Kannepalli Kanth, found here:
link to amazon.com
You're right, they didn't sugarcoat it, they justified it. See this:
link to blogs.timesofisrael.com
Their tribe, bad, our tribe, good. Orwellian double-speak in the works.
Incidentally, as a side-note, this dissident cleric was just arrested in Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago:
Very powerful and charismatic speaker with a large following among the Shia minority of Saudi Arabia (also, interestingly, where most of Saudi oil happens to be, which makes the regime very nervous). Since his arrest, there have been protests and demonstrations, but it has been mostly hushed, especially in the MSM, where I haven't heard a peep about it.
Then there is the news from PressTV and a few other news sources, coming out last Friday, that the new Saudi Intelligence Chief "Bandar Bush" was killed in an assassination type bombing. Not confirmed yet, but the reports seem to implicate Iran and/or Syria (how convenient). He hasn't made a public appearance since the alleged bombing, so something fishy going on there.
Then you have the horrific masquerade in Syria, with Mossad and CIA seemingly in bed with Al-Qae'da (again), trying to pull Turkey into the conflict, the Kurds trying to capitalize on the confusion and chaos by trying to carve out their own fiefdom.
Then you have Iraq's central government beefing the Kurds in the North for signing oil contracts separately, without going through Baghdad, with big oil players like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and recently France's Total. It's boiling, with both sides making threats and ultimatums.
So yes, I would definitely say something is brewing in the region, much more than in the past. It's like all it needs is even the slightest flicker to set the whole place up in flames. Domino effect, watch for it.
The Turks and Iranians have also come out with some pretty good TV mini-series recently, a lot of it dealing with the Ottoman era and early Islamic history. Sort of like an alternative discourse and narrative to the story usually presented in mainstream Arab countries. One really good one called Mukhtar al Thaqafi, originally in farsi, with english subs, can be found here:
They also had it done with voice-over in Arabic.
here are some Takfiris for you:
link to businessinsider.com
It's becoming more and more obvious of the very close links between the FSA and Al-Qae'da, even in the Western press. And yet you portray them as freedom-loving resistance fighters of the most righteous and noble character.
Also, I assume you understand Arabic, so see this:
This happened to the home of an Allawite family. Presumably simply because they are Allawites. The same way your hated Tafkiris used to stop cars and buses at checkpoints throughout Iraq and pluck out the Shia passengers by checking their identity documents, only then to torture and execute them while allowing all others to go free.
Syria has (or had) a thriving TV series (musalsal) industry, sometimes thought to the best in the Arab world, and has also some of the best actors. This has especially kicked off in the last 10 years or so. You can notice how they dominate in this area in Ramadan, the prime time for release of new drama series.
On the other hand, when some of the very popular Turkish series or movies appear on Arabic TV stations, and have been modified or given voice-overs (mudablaj) from Turkish to Arabic, this is almost always done in the Lebanese or Syrian accent, not the Egyptian one. Of course this could be for a variety of reasons, but my presumption is because those two are the easiest to understand and follow. Could be wrong though.
But in the move or film industry, I'll concede, Egypt tops the list. Accent kinda bothers me, personally, but I'm not one to talk since a lot of other Arabs consider the Iraqi dialect both harsh and unintelligible.
I'd have to disagree with you on the "Egyptian accent/dialect" being considered mainstream Arabic. Think that's somewhat of a stretch. Syrian/Lebanese Arabic (in movies, TV shows, etc..) are just as, if not more, popular than the Egyptian variety. I for one have difficulty understanding Egyptian Arabic, but then again I didn't grow up in the Middle East. The closest Arabic to classical Arabic, from what I can tell, is Yemeni Arabic. Generally, people have a more difficult task at understanding Khaleeji Arabic than the Egyptian and/or Shami variety. And even harder than this would be North African dialects (Algerian, Morrocan, Libyan to some extent). But these are mere details.
Agree with you on anan, just had a hunch. He seems to know intricate details about MNF-I and their various strategies and policies and actions in Iraq, something that even an average Iraqi wouldn't know. So it only makes sense that he's dealt with or worked with them in some capacity. Just an educated guess. Of course I wouldn't be surprised if he simply makes the stuff up as he goes along, to give him some semblance of authority on these matters. Also a possibility.
Very simple: You mention in earlier posts that Iraq does not support the Assad regime (is no apologist for Assad, in your words), what is your proof? I provided evidence that Iraq has from the beginning made it clear that it is against the approach of the US and the Arab league to instigate the violence and chaos in Syria by arming and/or otherwise supporting the rebels. This has been the official position of Iraq all along, which is more in line with the Iranian and Chinese/Russian positions. Do you believe otherwise? If so, what is your evidence?
There's a new report, as yet unconfirmed, that the new Saudi Intelligence Chief Bandar has been assassinated in a bomb attack. Blame seems to be going to Syria/Iran, if it's true:
link to worldaffairsjournal.org
link to timesofisrael.com
anan, for the umpteenth time, where is your proof? You've been proven wrong time and again by others on this site more times than I can count, so pardon me if I'm not willing to blindly take your word for it.
There is no such thing as "mainstream Arabic", there is the formal Arabic taught in the schools, used in print (newspapers, books, etc..), and spoken by the officialdom in press conferences, speeches, etc... And then there is the spoken Arabic of the various countries, different dialects in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, and the rest of the Arab world. Essentially all Arabs have to learn two languages, their spoken Arabic and the formal one taught in school.
But I do understand your point. The same can be said of the words jihadist, or hajji... this second word, in arabic, simply means a man who has performed the Hajj to Mecca, is meant to be a title of respect and reverence. The US soldiers in Iraq began using it to mean anything from "thief" to "insurgent"... i.e. anything negative, any "bad" Iraqi was called a Hajji. It's racist and disgusting. No doubt anan perhaps worked with the military in Iraq, or for a contracting company, since he seems to know some much about their inner dealings, the MNF-I, etc... If I'd have to bet on it, I'd say he worked as a translator or interpreter.
I'm sorry but once you can manage to stop being a two-faced hypocrite, and stop talking tongue-in-butt-cheek, and stop rambling on conspicuously with your insider information about all the inner dealings, thoughts, and deals of the powers-that-be in Iraq and the White House and elsewhere, all the while providing no proof or evidence for any of your assumptions, statements, or arguments....then perhaps after that my level of respect towards you may change. Until then, I shall follow the words of the wise King Solomon when he advised "Answer a fool according to his folly".
Roya: Yes I do actually. But only if the new age definition of a takfiri is "an entity that seeks to dominate/subjugate the world through the means of force and violence (or the threat thereof), in order to establish a culture, ideology, political and economic system, and way of life that is consistent with the worldview and perspectives of that dominant hegemonic power." Insert the qualifications "America", "democracy", "consumerism", "capitalism", etc... where you see fit :)
I should add that the word Takfir (without the i) does exist as a verb in formal Arabic, from the root of kufr, and means to blaspheme or disbelieve. Takfiri is the newer modified noun that has become popular especially in Iraq during the sectarian violence. As a concept, it goes back centuries. Ibn Taymiyya, the head master and icon of all salafis and wahhabis, living some 1000 years, was a prime example of "Takfiri", since almost no one (not even the mainstream) fit within his version of what acceptable Islam is. Most Saudi scholars also are the same. In common parlance, it basically means to excommunicate, but in this case usually gives the license to kill/rape/plunder anyone who doesn't fall under the acceptable, orthodox umbrella of what is considered the correct interpretation of Islam by these Takfiris. Sorry for going off-topic, thought I should clarify.
K, well, I REALLY feel awkward doing this. But here it goes: I have to agree with anan on this takfiri business (shit, I'll never forgive myself for this).
The words has appeared in Arabic over the last 10-15 years. It's not in formal Arabic of course, but that's normal since most countries speak their own dialects and a lot of the times new words get created and added as you go along. Basically it refers to the salafi/wahhabi phenomena of casting the "kufr" or "shirk" label on anyone and everyone who doesn't fall within their very narrow and extreme interpretations of Islam. Shias are kafirs, sufis are kafirs, Zaidis are kafirs, hoothies are kafirs, etc..
In any case, it's a minor issue. anan speaks out of his rear-end more often than not, so no biggy if we throw him a bone.
What of Iraq's stance on Syria anan? Perhaps you mean this:
link to articles.chicagotribune.com
link to english.alarabiya.net
You can also check out Al Iraqiya and countless other stations for the Iraqi position vis-a-vis Syria, which is basically that states should not be fueling the conflict by providing arms, logistical support, or in any other way intervening or supporting the rebels. That's the official government position, and it resonates with a good chunk of the population, who know fully well the kind of shit-storms that the salafi/wahhabi Al-Qae'da camp can and have wreaked on their own nation.
LOL I love it Taxi. Kinda reminds me of the whole "rise of the Shi'ite Crescent" talk by King Abdullah of Jordan and others in the Gulf a few years back.
See here: link to guardian.co.uk
Debate between Ali Abunimah and Jonathan Tobin on Israeli settlements:
I am sure you will love this piece by Chris Hedges called "War is Betrayal":
link to truthdig.com
Definitely a good read.
Oh and btw, see this article for just one (among many) example of how the US government sponsors terrorism, in this case in Latin America:
Yeah his pieces are very good. I'm addicted to them, lol. He's up there with John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Seymour Hersh, and a few others, who do honest and real journalism. Still not in the league of Noam Chomsky or Edward Said though.
Speaking of Icelanders..
link to scotthortonshow.com
Also, for some interesting reading on how things are unraveling in the US political culture, check out:
No I think she meant Iceland...
So if they can't speak fluent German they aren't German enough for you? lol.
Btw Canada under Harper took part in the Afghan mission, and still has military personnel there to this day, as trainers or advisers. But we got our own dose of the same ra=ra=ra jingoistic "support the troops" nonsense during the past 10 years.
A few points:
Genocide does not necessarily mean the complete annihilation or extermination of every single last member of a specific ethnic group or people, as you erroneously allege. Here is the UN legal definition of genocide:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Source: Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.
link to hrweb.org
In whole or in part is the part needs emphasizing. Based on this, it's completely fair to say that what was meted out on the Native Indians was absolutely and unequivocally genocide, no matter how you cut it. To boggle it down to a question of numbers, to say that only 30 or 40 or 50 percent were wiped out instead of 99%, is in all honesty quite appalling.
Hadn't heard of Smedley Butler, seems very interesting though. I'll check him out. Kinda reminds me of General Wesley Clark, sorta:
Yeah I remember John Stewart going berzerk over this. The newscasters had a conveniently timed case of amnesia regarding Ron Paul, as Stewart aptly points out here:
Sorry I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but couldn't help notice this:
Australia a land of racists: Survey finds many anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic
link to news.com.au
Perhaps it isn't all that different from other places in Europe or North America after all... Btw since most Arabs are Semites also, shouldn't being anti-Arab instead be called anti-Semitic?
Here is the full episode of that TV show called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist":
Part 1: link to youtube.com
Part 2: link to youtube.com
Oh and btw, the hairy-chest syndrome was something in common parlance in US political circles during the Kennedy/Johnson days and the Vietnam War (not that I've been around that long). Something I read in a superb book of that era called Roots of War, by Richard J. Barnett. An excellent and in-depth analysis of the war-mongering liberals at that time.
It basically refers to the machismo chest-beating mentality of US politicians at the time who thought that it was feminine and/or cowardly to consider any other options or alternatives to war and destruction in Indochina.
"The only American political party/group that would reign in US “soft” imperialism and knee-jerk support for Israel right or wrong will be found in the Ron Paul group."
I agree with most of what you said regarding Ron Paul. He's very eloquent, intelligent, charismatic, and more important than anything, an honest and moral man. One of the last few voices of sanity in the US political culture these days. However I take issue with the above statement... another alternative group that would do as you say would be the Green Party, headed by Jill Stein. On foreign policy issues I believe she is more in line with Ron Paul than any other candidate out there.
See here: link to youtube.com
and here: link to jillstein.org
Not boring, no. At least you don't have a crisis of identities, lol.
As to the xenophobia and racism here in Australia, it surprised me when I first arrived here about a year ago. I'm not going to exaggerate and say that it's so wide-spread or prevalent that you encounter it wherever you happen to go, but when I compare it to the situation in Canada, it is more obvious here. The police tend to racially profile quite frequently, especially in the predominantly Arab or Muslim suburbs of Sydney such as Bankstown, Auburn, Fairfield, etc...
Also, they have or are implementing policies here, such as the "income management" policy, that seem to be targeting low-income Arab/Muslim neighborhoods and families, as well as areas with large populations of indigenous peoples (although the official version would quickly deny this). Despite all the claims of good intentions and wanting to help the poor manage their money to take care of their families, it is nevertheless a policy that I do not think would ever get passed or implemented in Canada. See this link for a little more info on how it works:
link to abc.net.au
There is another incident at a halal KFC that occurred several months ago that is indicative of how horrible things are here regarding Arabs and/or Muslims:
Again I don't want to necessarily argue that the racism is so rampant here that you see Arabs or Muslims being lynched on light poles, nor am I stating that Canada is a bastion of all that is good and noble or that no racism exists over there, but it does seem to be more wide-spread and accepted here, in general. There are obviously very good-hearted and open-minded Caucasian Australians who are as appalled by these things as anyone else, but again I'm just commenting on the general comparison I've noticed between the two countries.
And of course it doesn't help at all that Rupert Murdoch controls around three quarters of the news media in Australia, again a situation that is practically unheard of in Canada (though perhaps more common south of the border). So this doesn't help trigger any type of open and healthy debate on such issues. You also have the fact that Australian politics are infested with lackeys and lapdogs (from the Prime Minister downwards) who toe-the-line wherever the US is concerned and compete with each other to show which of them is the more obedient servant to US interests. Quite pathetic actually. I don't think the situation has a parallel even under Harper's right-wing government in Canada, though I may be wrong.
Then you have the quite revealing new TV series here called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist", which shows some quite shocking incidents of the types of things I've been referring to:
Hope this helps clarify my statements.
Short clip about Howard Zinn's assessment of America's so-called just wars;
His book is of course much more detailed and comprehensive, as are the works of Chomsky and others.
Thanks German Lefty. Those labels sound perfectly fine to me. I'm a Canadian citizen of Iraqi background, living in Australia... talk about confused, hehe. Interesting because there is a lot of xenophobia and racism towards Arabs/Muslims and all immigrants generally over here... more than I expected, more than I ever seemed to encounter in Canada. Seems like it's noble here (and in Canada) to be leftist or liberal on every issue except on the Arab or Muslim issues, in which case nothing short of the hairy-chest syndrome is acceptable.
Be called a liberal in the US of A is an insult in today's political culture. Has been for some time. Basically means you're a whimp, a peacenik, a softy, a tree-hugging pot-smoking effeminate lil woos... any one of a couple dozen epithets and labels. It means you have no back-bone and no strong will to go to war with other countries and bomb them back to the Stone Age, all in the name of defending America and democracy, of course. Hence the reference to the French, who have been seen as being wooshy-washy appeasers (to fascism) since their role vis-a-vis Nazi Germany in WWII.
Check out this clip by Joe Rogan. A bit profane but hits the nail right on its head:
You must be joking? Are you stating that America could have been in the right in the Philippines over a century ago, a war that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people there? Or Vietnam perhaps. with around 2 million dead, half of them civilians? If you add Laos and Cambodia to the loop, that nearly doubles. This is not selective choosing and picking, these are real consequences of those US wars of aggression against weaker nations. Vietnam until this day is bearing the consequence of all that Agent Orange chemical warfare that devastated their country half a century ago. Both ecologically and in human terms, with children still being born to this day with the most bizarre deformations. Whatever you may think of the purported reasons for invading and bombing the living sh*t out of these defenseless nations, such as doing it for benevolent or humanitarian reasons for the good of the people on the receiving end of our weapons of mass destruction (the rhetoric is still common these days), no one can deny, based on the sheer facts and the utter destruction of those places we've invaded or gone to war with in the past, that they were completely unjust and immoral wars of the most brutal nature. Almost all wars are (not just American ones), there are barely any exceptions. Can't help but remember the quote from the wise Tacitus, the ancient Roman historian, who described the situation as such: "They create a wasteland (or desert), and call it peace."
Nice clip, except I have serious about America having fought wars in the past for moral reasons. Which war was that? The Philippines? WWI & II? Vietnam? Or maybe it was the war with Canada way back when...? Even the part about fighting a war on poverty as opposed to the poor seems to be simplistic and misleading. Howard Zinn debunks a lot of that junk.
The Syrian opposition: who's doing the talking?
The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look
"The US killed half a million during the secret bombing campaign. Don’t forget that."
A lot more than that if you add Laos to the picture. And Vietnam, of course. But the crimes and atrocities of the official enemy, i.e. Communist Russia, or Al-Qae'da, or whoever it happens to be at any moment in history, are the only ones that merit any type of criticism or concern. It matters not to people like anan that Saddam, called "the Butcher of Baghdad" after he fell out of favor with his imperial masters in Washington, was at one point in time "an SOB, but our SOB", specifically when we were arming his military machine in his war of aggression against Iran. This is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. Our crimes, i.e. US crimes and those of its allies, are side-lined, shunned, marginalized, nay even denied completely, or at best justified, because the official ideology states that we are benevolent, peace-loving, civilized, democratic nations who could never stoop to the level of those horrible and barbaric "others".
I think there is an argument to be made that life imprisonment itself, perhaps even more than torture or the death penalty, is a repulsive and form of cruel and unusual punishment. Many studies and books have been written on this subject by sociologists and criminologists for at least the past few decades. There is a marvelous passage, by that defender of the underdog Charles Dickens, that drives my point home quite vividly and eloquently:
"In the outskirts, stands a great prison, called the Eastern Penitentiary: conducted on a plan peculiar to the state of Pennsylvania. The system here, is rigid, strict, and hopeless solitary confinement. I believe it, in its effects, to be cruel and wrong.
In its intention, I am well convinced that it is kind, humane, and meant for reformation; but I am persuaded that those who devised this system of Prison Discipline, and those benevolent gentlemen who carry it into execution, do not know what it is that they are doing. I believe that very few men are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts upon the sufferers; and in guessing at it myself, and in reasoning from what I have seen written upon their faces, and what to my certain knowledge they feel within, I am only the more convinced that there is a depth of terrible endurance in it which none but the sufferers themselves can fathom, and which no man has a right to inflict upon his fellow-creature. I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body: and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because its wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay. I hesitated once, debating with myself, whether, if I had the power of saying 'Yes' or 'No,' I would allow it to be tried in certain cases, where the terms of imprisonment were short; but now, I solemnly declare, that with no rewards or honours could I walk a happy man beneath the open sky by day, or lie me down upon my bed at night, with the consciousness that one human creature, for any length of time, no matter what, lay suffering this unknown punishment in his silent cell, and I the cause, or I consenting to it in the least degree."
Charles Dickens, American Notes
While reading through the comments above, I can't help but think of two relevant quotes that sum up the debate pretty well:
1) "My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century." Noam Chomsky
2) As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action.
But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted.
Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
Martin Luther King
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